JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

05April

A Passover Story


Hello, Friends and Colleagues,

I am writing to share a Passover story that is very close to home. 

On the day of Erev Passover, when the first employees were arriving at our Dunwoody offices in the morning, they observed an elderly, feeble orthodox man with trash bags and boxes containing his worldly possessions in front of our clinical entrance. 
Clinical Entrance
The JF&CS Clinical Entrance

The man was agitated, ill, and clearly had no place to go.  Members of our reception, intake, and clinical teams spoke to the man outside and learned that he had been dropped off in front of our building at 1am the night before.

After determining that this man was not a threat but an individual in need, our staff mobilized and worked together to help him.  He had no money, no place to go, and nowhere to turn – all he wanted was a place to celebrate Passover. 

JFCS Entrance
JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

Our staff jumped into action - we gave the man kosher food from our panty, gift cards for Kroger, and connected him with Rabbi Mendy Gurary to host him for the Passover Seders. 

Chief Program Officer Faye Dresner spoke to the man’s son in Israel to assure him that his father would not be alone for the Chag.  Our HR Director Lisa Bronstein arranged payment for a hotel nearby. We helped the man load his belonging into a cab to take him the hotel, and when the cab could not fit this man’s walker our Clinical Director Dan Arnold put it in his own vehicle and followed the cab. 

Passover Plate
A Passover Seder Plate
On Passover, we remember that we were once strangers, and we must therefore love and care for the stranger’s needs.  Our amazing team did this today on Erev Passover as they would any other day.   I am so proud of JF&CS’ staff who live our mission and values and am humbled to see the meaning of Passover come to life at our own doorstep.  Chag Sameach to those that celebrate Passover.

Sincerely,

Rick Aranson, CEO
Rick cropped 2

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

16March

Bruce Lindemann - Volunteer of the Month

Herbert Kohn Meritorious Service Award Winner

The Herbert Kohn Meritorious Service Award was created in 1983 to recognize a Board member’s outstanding contribution to the Agency’s Board of Directors. The intent of the Herbert Kohn Award is to honor one dedicated Board member each year that has made a significant contribution to furthering the mission and goals of the Agency through either committee or project-related work.
Additionally, the Herbert Kohn Award serves to recognize a Board member who demonstrates the commitment and passion to help guide the Agency toward its vision and strategic goals.

Bruce’s commitment to JFCS and the seriousness with which he takes his board responsibilities is unparalleled; he has been on the board since 2014. He deftly balances advocating for the needs of his daughter Carla while engaging in strategy and planning on the disabilities service area of this organization as a whole. He is a person of action and a tireless advocate. 

Bruce has done phenomenal work with the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Committee focused on advocacy. When we were blocked from opening two homes in the Zimmerman Horowitz Independent program, he made calls, sent letters, and attended hearings. Thanks to his efforts, these homes are open and thriving. When monies were being held by Medicaid that JFCS had been owed, he used his network and his voice to make our agency whole. And when he felt he wanted to learn more about the agency after his board and committee service, he applied to the Kay Tools for Leaders program, once again proving his commitment to the agency's cause.
Carla Lindeman
Bruce's daughter, Carla, accepts the award on his behalf

Bruce has commitment, integrity, and is the true embodiment of the JF&CS mission. He is very dedicated to the agency and is passionate about the work it does especially for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Congratulations to Bruce on receiving this award! 

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

23February

How Do I know if My Teen is in an Abusive Relationship?

Tzipporah Gerson-Miller LCSW C-IAYT

Having any kind of suspicion that your teen may be in an unhealthy relationship can be extremely alarming. Not knowing how to spot definitive signs of abuse can be frustrating and lead to feelings of helplessness. If you know your teen is in an abusive relationship and you aren’t sure how to support them or what resources are available, it can leave you feeling powerless and isolated. According to the CDC, 1.5 million high school students experience dating violence from a dating partner in a single year. Not only can intimate partner violence be traumatic, it can be life-threatening.

Knowing how to identify early warning signs of an abusive relationship and what to do can be the best way to help your teen.


1.     Your child’s partner seems extremely jealous or possessive. Wanting to know where your partner is and who they are with is normal to a certain extent. However, if you notice that your teen’s partner is calling or texting excessively and wanting to know your teen’s whereabouts 24/7, that’s a good indicator that they are jealous and possessive.


2.     Your child begins to dress differently. Abuse is all about power and control. Parents often get to know their child’s typical patterns, tastes, and habits. If your teen used to like to wear certain clothing and suddenly wants an entirely new wardrobe, this may be a red flag that their partner is trying to control their behavior.
 

3.     Your teen loses interest in their usual activities and extracurricular activities. While loss of interest and motivation can be a sign of depression, if your teen is spending more and more time with their significant other and less time engaged in their usual activities, it can indicate that your teen’s partner is trying to manipulate their actions and decisions.
 

4.     Your teen spends less and less time with their friends or family. Isolation is a major tactic that abusers use so that a person will become more and more dependent upon them for love and self-acceptance. If you notice that your teen is turning down invitations to parties or other gatherings to spend time with their partner, their partner could be trying to control their social interactions.
 

5.     You notice that your teen seems depressed or anxious. It’s normal for a teen’s mood to fluctuate to some extent. We all have bad days and we all feel stressed out from time to time. If you notice changes in your teen’s sleep patterns, appetite, interest in social activities, self-esteem,  or any evidence of self-harm (i.e. cutting), or expressed feelings of hopelessness and guilt, your teen might be the victim of emotional abuse.


5 Ways to Support Your Teen If They Are In An Abusive Relationship

As a parent, your instinct is to protect your child. Sometimes the emotionally desire to protect your child from harm can undermine your ability to approach the situation calmly and skillfully. Here are some tips on how to navigate this difficult situation with your child.


1. Listen without judgment. It’s best to listen calmly and to assure them that it’s not their fault. Many teens feel ashamed that this is happening in their relationship and often are afraid that their parents will be angry or disappointed. Being supportive means taking time to understand their needs and practicing patience. People need time to process their feelings before taking action. Active, non-judgmental listening is a beautiful way to strengthen your relationship with your child.


2. Believe what your teen is telling you. If someone feels ashamed or scared about what is happening to them, having the courage to tell someone is a huge step. Acknowledging and validating their story unconditionally is a way of communicating trust. If your teen suspects that you don’t believe them, they will be hesitant to come to you for help in the future.


3. Don’t force them to leave the relationship. This circles back to wanting to protect them. It’s normal to want to start controlling their behavior in order to protect them. This may cause them to return to their abuser. Leaving the abuser can also increase their risk of harm.


4. Educate Yourself. Being able to identify the components of a healthy relationship can help you to facilitate a conversation with your teen so they can be better equipped to spot red flags and identify unhealthy behaviors.


5. Decide and collaborate on a plan of action together. Show genuine interest in knowing how your teen wants to handle the situation. Acknowledge their feelings, gather their input, listen empathically, and provide supportive feedback. If they don’t want to discuss it with you, don’t take it personally. Help them find support.



References: 
Smith, S.G., Chen, J., Basile, K.C., Gilbert, L.K., Merrick, M.T., Patel, N., Walling, M., & Jain, A. (2017). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010-2012 State Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(2017) Get Help for Someone Else: Help My Child. Retrieved from: http//:www.loverespect.org

If you suspect that your teen may be in an abusive relationship, do not hesitate to seek support. Knowing where resources exist in your community can save someone’s life.  The Shalom Bayit Program at JF&CS offers counseling and support groups for victims of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse in their families or relationships. Counselors are available to see children, adolescents, teens, and adults. Please contact (770) 677-9322

Other resources include:

Georgia Domestic Violence and 24-hour Crisis Line, including access to emergency shelter: 1-800-HAVEN

National Domestic Violence 24 Hour Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE

National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Counseling Services

16February

A Message From the CEO Re: Parkland, Fl shooting

We're here to help

Dear Friends,

Yet again, another school shooting shakes our nation and breaks our hearts.

Last night, Dan Arnold, the Director of Clinical Services, and I appeared on Atlanta's CBS affiliate to highlight how JF&CS can be a resource to individuals, parents, and teenagers who need help and how early intervention can possibly prevent tragedy.  

At JF&CS, we specialize in treating mental health disorders. We stand ready in Atlanta to diagnose problems in children and teens and help them proactively work on their psychological issues. We are on most insurance panels and offer a sliding scale to help those who otherwise could not afford therapy.

In addition, we are here to help our families who are having difficulty handling the news and children who may become fearful to attend schools. We offer individual and group therapy for adolescents, teens, and adults.

Please know that if you or someone you know is showing warning signs - anger, depression, withdrawing from activities - we're here to help.

Contact us at 770.677.9436 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sincerely,

Rick Aranson
CEO, JF&CS

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Counseling Services

05December

Ben Massell Dental Clinic Holiday Party

FITS families spent an afternoon making a difference! JF&CS’ Ben Massell Dental Clinic (BMDC) is the only resource for comprehensive, quality dental care available to indigent individuals in metro Atlanta.
Holiday Decorating at Ben Massell Dental Clinic

The Clinic has a life-changing impact on up to 4,000 patients each year.  In addition to dental care, the Clinic is thrilled to offer additional, smaller opportunities for some of the families of the Clinic.

This year, FITS families participated in the 4th annual Ben Massell Dental Clinic holiday party, which gave four families an opportunity to enjoy a holiday party, including crafts, games, and fun snacks.

FITS families all brought gifts for the families, which were hidden from the children, in hopes to have them be a surprise for the holidays. Families mixed, mingled, and had a great time at the program!

Ashley Semerenko, Social Services Program Manager at the Ben Massell Dental Clinic, said, “having this party is a unique way we can connect with patients on a more personal level (it’s far beyond the treatment chair!). 

Seeing the adults and children connect is powerful and both volunteers and party attendees are touched every year by their experience (tears, hugs, recipes and holiday traditions shared).  The event wouldn’t be possible without our volunteers and donors.”

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Ben Massell Dental Clinic

05December

Volunteer of the Month: Marcia Pearl

Why I Volunteer

Why I Volunteer - Marcia Pearl

“Volunteering has given me an opportunity for “Tikkun Olam”; I am helping JFCS to repair the greater Atlanta community.

Marcia Pearl JF&CS Volunteer of the MonthI have the best of two worlds. I am an Intake volunteer, where I have the joy of being part of a team that helps individuals who face significant impacts in their lives such as: loss of a job, mental health crises or indigence.

I am also a Chaplaincy volunteer, where I see to the spiritual needs of individuals in residential facilities or hospitals, and try to bring hope and solace.

According to the London School of Economics in a study of volunteerism, the more people volunteered, the happier they were. Another study in the Journal of Gerontology found that people who volunteer have less risk of dementia, and those that volunteer over 100 hours per year live longer and have better health outcomes.

So, in return for a handful of hours, I gain happiness, brains elasticity, longevity and good health. But, best of all is the chance to make a difference in the lives of others.”

Rabbi Judith Beiner, Community Chaplain, said, “Marcia brings her warmth, compassion and gracious presence to patients and individuals she visits through Bikkur Cholim.  She indeed spreads smiles and sunshine!”

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Volunteer Services

05December

Community Spotlight - Daffodil Project

Am Yisrael Chai Daffodil Project

On November 19, VIA Young Professionals of JF&CS, volunteers from Am Yisrael Chai and JF&CS staff helped members of our Holocaust Survivors Support program, to create a daffodil garden, as part of Am Yisrael Chai's Daffodil Project. The Daffodil Project was created in remembrance of children who were lost in the Holocaust.

Daffodil PlantingWith their help, we planted 850 bulbs and lay two rows of stones, painted with the names of children lost in the Holocaust. Thanks to all the volunteers for all your help!

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Volunteer Services

20November

A Thanksgiving Message from the CEO

Happy Thanksgiving from Rick Aranson

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

17November

Operation Isaiah a Big Success!

Volunteers Sorted 11,000 lbs of food from the ACFB

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

17November

Meet the Staff: Caroline Burkholder, MS, RD, LD

CarolineCaroline joined JF&CS’ Health Power Initiative team in September 2017. A native of Atlanta, Caroline brings to JF&CS a background in nutrition education and wellness programming. She conducts and assesses health and wellness programs for clients, manages the Kosher food pantry, and maintains community partnerships to secure health promotion opportunities for participants across Atlanta. The Health Power Initiative program serves a range of clients with a special focus on older adults. Participants in her program learn how to eat healthfully on a budget and how to use food as a medium to prevent and manage chronic disease. Prior to coming to JF&CS, Caroline attended Georgia State University’s coordinated program in dietetics, where she received her Master’s degree and underwent 1200 hours of supervised practice to attain her credential as a dietitian. In tandem with her coursework, Caroline worked as the university nutritionist for the student body at GSU, and she worked as a nutrition educator for After School, a national non-profit organization that partners with Title I schools to teach children healthy cooking skills. She also taught undergraduate nutrition courses at GSU. Caroline is holds a Master of Science in Health Science, Nutrition from Georgia State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Sewanee: University of the South. “Working with older adults is particularly rewarding because they deeply value the time and attention given to them. Whether doing hands on nutrition counseling or just talking to them about their favorite foods, older adults love the companionship and conversation and are eager to participate.”

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

14November

Volunteer of the Month: Andrea Holyfield

Andrea_HolyfieldAndrea started volunteering with JF&CS almost three years ago as the facilitator for our most popular workshop, LinkedIn for Job Search. We had launched the workshop a few months prior and suddenly our facilitator was not able to volunteer. This left us scrabbling until Andrea was referred to us as a LinkedIn expert who would do a fine job leading our new workshop. Later, when there were some major changes to LinkedIn, Andrea helped us create new material for the workshop participants.

Andrea comes each month with great enthusiasm for sharing the finer points of LinkedIn with our workshop participants and they leave the session armed with new information that will add to the effectiveness of their search. As workshop participants gather their belongings at the end of a class, it is common to hear people saying, “Andrea is fantastic” or “Andrea has taught me so much”. Andrea has certainly been a contributor to the Careers’ job search program.

Andrea:  Thank you for consistently being available to teach the How to Utilize LinkedIn in a Job Search workshop.   Your dedication to assisting our job seekers is invaluable. Many participants enter your training thinking that they know all that there is to know about LinkedIn only to remark later, “Wow I learned a lot of things about LinkedIn that I had no idea of."

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

14November

Holiday Gift Program

You can bring hope this holiday

Starting in 1995, the Holiday Gift Program, led by volunteer Jody Reichel, helps brighten the holiday season for Atlanta families who struggle to provide for their children, unable to afford the extras, and at times, even the essentials. 

Every year, members of our community fall on hard times whether through illness of a child or family member, unemployment, or another financial setback. Thank you to those of you who have donated in the past; hope that you join us again this year as we help put smiles on the faces of needy children and their families.

 Here’s how you can participate: 

1. Adopt a child, teen or adult (age and/or gender requests will be honored where possible) and we will provide you with the wish list. This is a great way for your own children to participate in the process! 

2. Purchase gift cards to Kroger, Publix, Target, Wal-Mart, Amazon, Macy’s, Toys R Us, etc. that will go directly to the families. Gift cards may be mailed to JF&CS or arrangements may be made through email or phone call (see contact information below). 

3. Make a monetary donation directly to the Holiday Gift Fund and we will purchase a gift card(s) or gift(s) for a family or individual. 

Every dollar donated goes directly to the families and is tax deductible to you. All gifts are appreciated. Please make checks out to JF&CS and mail checks and/or gift cards to JF&CS, attention: Jackie Nix.

For more information or to get involved please contact Jackie Nix at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 770.677.9334

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

19October

Rosh Hashanah Appeal Helps 160 Familes

Partnering with the Hebrew Order of David, JF&CS Annual Rosh Hashanah Appeal Raises $12,000

Since 2008, JF&CS has had a strong partnership with the Hebrew Order of David (HOD) to raise funds for the Rosh Hashanah appeal. The money raised is given to members in need in the Atlanta Jewish community to enable them to host a Rosh Hashanah Meal. This year, we raised over $12,000 and provided 160 families the opportunity to celebrate the New Year. Thank you so much to everyone who participated in the success of the Rosh Hashanah appeal, especially HOD brothers and liaison Alan Rubenstein. We couldn’t do it without you!

“Thank you so much for thinking of us and making a gift to the Rosh Hashanah appeal. We truly appreciate it. We will now be able to have a wonderful Rosh Hashanah meal. May the New Year bring you joy, health, and happiness” – a 2017 Rosh Hashanah appeal recipient 

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

27September

Volunteers of the Month

Three friends gather weekly in the Kosher Food Pantry

Although there are many wonderful volunteers who occasionally serve in the kosher food pantry, there are three consistently dedicated ladies: Merrie Weiss, Karen Schultz, and Fran Keller. For the past year, these ladies have shown up faithfully every Monday to help sort the generous donations in the JF&CS food pantry. All are former teachers and still feed the need to give. 

KFP volunteersWhen asked why she volunteered, Merrie said, “This is what makes us feel good. It is so nice to give people in-need something they can use.”

Karen agreed. “I enjoy knowing I am making a difference. I have also made new friends. It gives me a bit of a schedule, to know I need to be here each week,” she said.

The Kosher Food Pantry is an invaluable resource of healthy kosher food items for people in need. Instead of spending money on food, clients can use limited funds to pay utilities or other household needs. Donations for the food pantry come from several wonderful organizations and in-kind donations. The pantry relies on volunteers who work hard sorting and inspecting the donations to make sure that they are suitable to be eaten according to a healthy and Kosher diet. Fresh produce is donated to the Kosher Food Pantry from David Skoke and his team at Helping Feed Atlanta. In addition, vegetables grown in the giving garden are also available to Kosher Food Pantry recipients. 

“We are careful to make sure the dates are current and that all food has the right kosher symbol. I like to organize the shelves and make sure everything is space-efficient,” said Fran.

The volunteers make sure the Kosher Food Pantry is in tip-top shape and make it easier to find necessary items.

"We have a lot of clients with low-sodium diets,” said Geriatric Care Manager, Debbi Dooley. Dooley helps clients fill their baskets with healthy, nutrition food. She delights when finding certain foods in the panty. 

"We need non-sweetened cereal, canned salmon, quinoa, ready-cooked rice. Extra sources of protein are very important to these clients’ diets. These wonderful ladies help us to make the Kosher Food Pantry a comfortable place to get assistance” she said.

While the pantry stocks only Kosher certified foods, anyone who needs help is welcome. 

To find out more about the Kosher Food Pantry, including a list of needed items, visit www.jfcsatl.org/kfp

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Volunteer Services

25September

Tritt Leadership Program Reunion a Success!

Tritt 3

On Sunday, August 13th VIA held its annual reunion for alumni of the Ramie A. Tritt Family Foundation Volunteers In Action Leadership Program. Graduates and their guests along with JF&CS staff spent a fun afternoon at Lake Lanier playing human bingo, swimming, exploring the lake and more. Thank you to Joyce and Ramie Tritt for opening their home and hosting! We look forward to many more years of the program, future reunions and continuing education and leadership events.

Tritt 2The Ramie A. Tritt Family Foundation Volunteers In Action Leadership Program is community service-based volunteer leadership program that provides participants with hands-on experiences and connects them with prominent leaders in Atlanta. It focuses on being active in the community and exploring how community service and philanthropy can help participants develop as a leader. The program runs annually from January to May.  Applications will be available November 2017.

This program is made possible by Joyce and Ramie Tritt and their extended families. Thank you for all your support! 

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Volunteer Services

18September

Meet the JF&CS Staff: Georgia Gunter

As a Geriatric Care Manager and Certified Aging Life Care Manager, Georgia joined JF&CS’ Geriatric Care Management team in May 2017. An Atlanta native, she brings with her 26 years of experience in the aging eld, with an emphasis on home and community-based services. She currently serves as a geriatric care manager and leads a spousal caregiver support group.

Georgia GunterGeorgia has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Furman University. She earned a Master of Science in counseling and a graduate certificate in gerontology from Georgia State University, whose Gerontology Institute awarded her the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009. Georgia is a certified Eden at Home associate and a member of the Aging Life Care Association.

Before coming to JF&CS, Georgia worked as the director of the Weinstein Center for Adult Day Services, located at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta and more recently as the director of Adult Day of Dunwoody. In that role, she provided case management and caregiver support for the family members and clients she served. She is very active in the aging community and served on the Advisory Committee to the Governor’s Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Task Force Committee. She also served on the boards of LeadingAge Georgia and the Culture Change Network of Georgia and was president of the Georgia Adult Day Services Association.

Georgia believes she has much to learn from older adults as well as from the care partners she serves. “There’s a quote from the Live Oak Institute that really resonates with me:

‘An elder is a person who is still growing, still a learner, still with potential and whose life continues to have within it promise for and connection to the future.’

“I am so honored to work for an organization that truly values its elders.”

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Aviv Older Adult Services

15September

Community Spotlight: Helping Feed Atlanta

Helping Feed Atlanta Spreads Love and Food Across Atlanta

Have you ever wondered what happens to all of the produce at Whole Foods at the end of the day? Does it get thrown out, used for compost, or do employees throw elaborate dinner parties after hours? In February 2012, David Skoke helped answer that question by reaching out to his local Whole Foods Market. What started out as a request for 40 pounds of potatoes, has now grown into an operation that feeds thousands of the homeless and Atlantans in-need.

In just five years, the project has grown from one market to five different Whole Foods markets and three Costco locations. Helping Feed Atlanta collects over 30,000 pounds of food every month with the help of a few dedicated volunteers. 

In addition, Helping Feed Atlanta has also created jobs for capable adults like Todd Besmernick, a young man in our supported employment program. David and Todd have become great friends, and they share videos of their weekly runs to collect healthy produce on their  “van show.” They then distribute the produce to the JF&CS kosher food pantry, and other organizations that help those in-need including Malachi's Storehouse, City of Refuge and The Atlanta Mission.

“We could not do our work without the help of David Skoke and Helping Feed Atlanta for many reasons. Thank you from all of us at JFCS,” said Engagement Coordinator, Sheri Schwartz.

Amy Maslia, intake manager agreed. “We Love to see David's smiling face on Mondays and am thrilled to offer fresh produce to our clients! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!”

Helping Feed Atlanta was recently profiled on 11 Alive. You can view the video here: http://www.wsbtv.com/video?videoId=596527236&videoVersion=1.0 

Here is a video of David and Todd doing their mobile mitzvahs: https://www.facebook.com/Helping-Feed-Atlanta-1438955989707442/?fref=mentions

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Developmental Disabilities Services, Volunteer Services

10July

Announcing VIA Day(s) for JF&CS Annual Campaign!

We hope you will join us and help support JF&CS and the Atlanta community!

Announcing VIA Day(s) for JF&CS Annual Campaign!
We're excited to announce a new initiative challenging young adults to join us in making hope and opportunity happen for those in need by making a gift to the 2017 JF&CS Annual Campaign.

Sunday, July 23 will be the first of two days for the campaign. You will receive a text message asking you to make a donation to JF&CS by going online to jfcsatl.org/donate or Venmo @JFCSAtl. The goal is to raise at least $2,500 as an anonymous donor has generously agreed to match all donations up to that amount.

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

23June

Debra & Christian

How JF&CS counseling services helped a veteran and her son.

In 2009, Debra Johnson received orders to go to Iraq. Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR), with two months left in her contract, they orders took her by surprise.

“I had to go by myself, not with a unit, not with anyone I knew,” she said.

While on her tour, Johnson experienced a woman’s worst nightmare: sexual abuse. Medivacked home and suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), she spent months in different therapies. Eventually, she started drinking heavily.

If not for Christian, the “little life saver” born in 2012, she might have taken a different path.

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Counseling Services

23June

Levon Johnson

How a former veteran and machinist regained his confident smile

Levon Johnson didn’t learn to read until fifth grade.

“Everyone thought I was the smartest kid in school, but I couldn’t read,” he said. But he built coping skills. “My interest was in my chemistry set.”

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Ben Massell Dental Clinic

23March

Generations of Giving

Three Generations of Tritt Give Back

Generations of Giving
There’s a culture of giving in the Tritt family, which becomes clear when you look at what Dr. Ramie Tritt, his wife, Joyce, and their children have done for JF&CS and the community. In the past decade, not only have they donated significantly in both time and money, but they have started several programs — including the 3-year-old Ramie A. Tritt Family Foundation Volunteers in Action (VIA) Leadership Program at JF&CS.

“We’re big on leadership, education, health and community support,” said Dr. Tritt, a physician originally from Montreal. “JF&CS falls into all of them. It meets the needs of people who aren’t as advantaged as we are.”

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

23March

The Legacy of Owen Halpern

Generosity that extends beyond life.

The Legacy of Owen Halpern
Throughout his adult life, Owen Halpern was known for his kindness and generosity. His support for JF&CS extended beyond his donations to the time he spent volunteering. From serving on the Board of Directors to co-chairing the annual Community of Caring event to heading up the Kay Family Tools for Leaders program, Halpern immersed himself in the agency. But the cause that meant the most to him was LGBTQ (lesbians, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) rights.   

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

14March

Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta Earns Coveted 4-star Rating From Charity Navigator

JF&CS ranks among top 10% of charities for transparency and accountability.

Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta Earns Coveted 4-star Rating From Charity Navigator
ATLANTA – Atlanta, GA – March 14, 2017 – In recognition of its sound fiscal management practices and commitment to accountability and transparency, Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta (JF&CS) has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator.

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

19April

Passover – Renewal, or Making the Old New Again

Passover – Renewal, or Making the Old New Again
Passover begins when I open the Pesach closet and see the dishes, pots and pans, appliances and utensils. This odd, mismatched assortment belonged to my mother-in-law, who used them through the years. Pulling them out of the closet, I can still see my in-laws conducting their sedarim, and hear their voices. The dishes show signs of aging and use: cracks, chips, worn finishes, loose handles etc. And yet, they are new to me every year. 

Written by Rabbi Judith Beiner, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

18December

AWESOME

AWESOME

After Rosh Hashana this past year, I resolved to start jogging. Not a life-altering change, just an addition to my stale years-old swimming routine. I needed a new exercise to inject some energy into my body and my days. I had a big hurdle to overcome: I am not a runner. I am scared of running. I am afraid that I will be left gasping for air, my chest throbbing in pain, and even worse, that I will fall (because I am a clutz).

I got some advice as to how to start. I ran on my treadmill for two months, until one day I took myself outside. Something amazing happened. I jogged three miles, without stopping. I wasn’t gasping for air, I felt no pain, and I didn’t fall. It wasn’t that difficult.  

Written by Rabbi Judith Beiner, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

12November

Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks

From time to time, I receive a handwritten thank you note. I always appreciate the thought and effort that went into the personalized message.

In the book, Unforgettable: A Son, a Mother, and the Lessons of a lifetime, author Scott Simon shares how his mother was renowned for such gestures. “My mother wrote notes to give thanks to people. But she also wrote notes to remind herself of how people dotted her life with acts of grace, skill and kindness. I’ve heard from many people who’ve said they’ll always treasure a note that my mother wrote them.”

Written by Rabbi Judith Beiner, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

15October

10 Reasons You May Need JF&CS

10 Reasons You May Need JF&CS

JF&CS provides support to the entire community through programs and services that can help families in every stage of their lives.

Here are Ten Reasons you might want to tell your friend or family member to contact JF&CS.

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

17June

How You Can Help Change People's Lives

How You Can Help Change People's Lives

What if you could help someone with a developmental disability learn the skills to hold a job or bring companionship to an older adult who spends most of her day alone? What if you could help a young adult overcome addiction or help restore confidence to a child being bullied at school? And what if you could help someone out of work for a year find employment?

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

16June

How To “Open Wide” To a Healthy New You

How To “Open Wide”  To a Healthy New You

If you have trouble believing you can change a life by fixing a smile, ask Markus G., who came to the Ben Massell Dental Clinic (BMDC) in the fall of 2013 with serious teeth and gum issues. Soon enough, it became clear he had other challenges in his personal life. He realized counseling services were another service available to BMDC patients and reached out to the JF&CS social worker there.

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Ben Massell Dental Clinic

30March

Patience and Passover

Reflections for your seder

Patience and Passover

I wanted to share one of my favorite Passover stories:

Two beggars, Yidel, a Jew, and Ivan, a Russian were both always in need of a good meal. One year, just before Passover, Yidel told Ivan that if he went into a synagogue and pretended to be a Jew, he would surely get an invitation to a Seder. A month later, when they met again, Yidel anticipated an embrace and a thank you. Instead, Ivan fell upon him with blows and curses, and upon finishing told this tale. 

Written by Rabbi Judith Beiner, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

27February

Greet Everyone With a Cheerful Face

Greet Everyone With a Cheerful Face

 

This past year a dear friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer. One of the hardest things, she admitted was going out in public, NOT because she was worried about infection, but because people so often greeted her with their ‘sad faces’. “I always feel like I have to comfort them!” she would say.

You might have experienced this: perhaps you are mourning a loss, struggling with an illness, or in the midst of a very hard time in your life. You’re having an okay day, holding your emotions in check and doing just fine. You encounter a well-meaning acquaintance, who upon seeing you puts on their saddest face and asks with pronounced expression “How ARE you!” You promptly burst into tears, and hold yourself back from saying “I was just fine until you gave me your sad face!”

 

Written by Rabbi Judith Beiner, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

15December

The Season of Jewish Pride

The Season of Jewish Pride

Our celebration of Chanukah has, in our day taken on some of the Christmas season’s trappings. The decorations and emphasis on gift giving are a direct result of the Jewish festival’s annual celebration in the month of December, and the Jew’s good fortune to practice our faith in freedom. Far from a bad thing, as who doesn’t love a great theme party? In truth, the story of Chanukah and its celebrations emphasize the Jewish mindset to be different, to not blend in, and to assert our Jewish Pride.

Written by Rabbi Judith Beiner, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

17November

Kiddush at Thanksgiving

Kiddush at Thanksgiving

In his book 40 Things You Can Do to Save the Jewish People, Joel Lurie Grishaver says we should say Kiddush and Hamotzi on Thanksgiving:

“It is important to treat Thanksgiving as a Jewish ritual meal and thereby blend Jewish and American values into a single expression. Thanksgiving has always had its own rituals. … [W]e had never thought to make it Jewish — we had never thought to remember that when the Pilgrims were gathering that first fall harvest in their new land, they went back to the Bible and found their own way of bringing the Sukkot ritual alive. Thanksgiving is nothing more than a Pilgrim version of a creative Sukkot celebration — add the popcorn and cranberries, take out the lulav and etrog, and you get the picture. The moment I figured out that Thanksgiving wasn’t just an American holiday, my world changed. From then on, I’ve made Kiddush before eating turkey. Kiddush adds another dynamic — it shows not only a melding of food, but of spirit.”

Written by Rabbi Judith Beiner, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

18September

Coming Home for the High Holy Days

Coming Home for the High Holy Days

Thomas Hart Benton, the celebrated American Artist, left his native Missouri as a young man to pursue a career as an artist. For many years, studied and worked at his craft in Paris and New York, among other places, before he eventually made his way back to the Midwest. It was upon returning home to his roots, that Benton found his artistic voice and method, becoming one of the first and great regionalist painters of the 20th century

Written by Rabbi Judith Beiner, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

16July

Give Away What You Want The Most

Give Away What You Want The Most

The medieval Jewish mystic, Rabbi Isaac Luria (known as the ARI) is said to have recited these words before praying each day: "Hareini mekabel/et alai, et mitzvat haBoreh, v'ahavta le'reeicha camocha. - I am ready to perform the mitzvah to love my neighbor as myself." In reciting this commandment, the ARI set an intention for prayer. In this case, he was seeking deveikut, a connection with God - the ultimate source of love and meaning.

Written by Rabbi Judith Beiner, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

02July

Sacred Speaking and Listening

Sacred Speaking and Listening

A few dear friends took me out for dinner for my birthday this past spring. While eating dessert, one in the group directed everyone to say a few words to me. I was expecting the standard 'happy birthday' and attendant good wishes. To my surprise, my friends shared some deeply felt sentiments and observations about me in how they each have known me over the years. I learned that I am seen as one who never gives up on a friend, admired for being capable and organized, and complimented for being a good cook and an accomplished parent.

Written by Rabbi Judith Beiner, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

15May

How to get the healthiest bang for your buck

How to get the healthiest bang for your buck

Overall health and risk of degenerative disease are inseparably linked to dietary practice. We treat these diseases with medication, which has side effects. We suppress symptoms and don't get to the root cause of the problem. But as Hippocrates, the father of medicine and healing said, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."

Written by Belinda Ossip, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

30April

Legacy Home Care isn’t just for older adults with aging needs

How to get the right kind of care at home

With an upcoming surgery scheduled, Howard Goldmacher and his wife, Iris, realized they were going to need some extra day-to-day help. So they called Legacy Home Care and arranged for a caregiver to come a couple of times a week, four hours at a time. They were matched with Okay Onuorah, who helped with household chores and driving to doctor appointments. Okay started with the Goldmachers several weeks before the surgery so everyone could get used to the arrangement. But when Howard had to have an unexpected operation before his planned surgery, Okay’s care became even more vital. He upped his hours and started to care for the Goldmachers four times a week. The couple couldn’t be more grateful and even joke that they want to adopt him. “Okay has been a lifesaver,” said Howard. “I don’t know what I would do without him.”

Written by Sheri Panovka, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

08April

Reflecting on the Spiritual Possibilities of Passover

Reflecting on the Spiritual Possibilities of Passover

This year we celebrate the first night of Passover on Monday, April 14. Passover commemorates our people's exodus from Egypt, the journey from slavery to freedom. Of all of the Jewish holidays, Passover alone is distinguished by special dietary requirements, namely that we are prohibited from eating or even owning hametz. Hametz is defined as any mixture of flour and water that has been allowed to ferment for more than 18 minutes. The most obvious examples are bread and pasta, but grains and legumes are included as well (because they 'puff up', or act like leavened foods) and are prohibited on Passover.

Written by Rabbi Judith Beiner, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

24March

Help getting affordable health insurance

Over the past five months, I have had the pleasure of assisting individuals and families in signing up for health insurance. The deadline for enrolling in a health plan under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is around the corner on Monday, March 31, and open enrollment won’t be available again until Nov. 15. With such a short time left, it’s very important for people who need help with access to give me a call or to come in and see if you qualify for financial assistance to purchase a health plan.

UPDATE: According to The Washington Post and several other news organizations, "all consumers who have begun to apply for coverage on HealthCare.gov, but who do not finish by Monday [March 31], will have until about mid-April to ask for an extension."

Written by Tammie Peterson, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

16December

Renew and Reflect This New Year

Happy New Year 2014: A Time for Renewal

Renew and Reflect This New Year

In contrast to the Jewish New Year we celebrate in the fall, the secular New Year can seem a bit anti-climactic. We might celebrate it by going out to a party or fancy dinner, and then spend the first day of the New Year sleeping and lazing around. And yet, as we ‘turn the page’ to a new calendar year, we are also habituated to the practice of New Year’s resolutions. Resolve to eat better, lose weight, and exercise more are among the common determinations people make at this time.

Written by Rabbi Judith Beiner, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

18November

Thanksgivukkah: Never Before, Never Again

Thanksgivukkah:  Never Before, Never Again

An anomaly in the Jewish calendar has resulted in the first day of Chanukah coinciding with Thanksgiving Day. Foodies are going wild, concocting delicacies combining the trademark foods of each holiday, and a few mom-and-pop entrepreneurs are selling “menurky’s” and t-shirts. Songsters are blending Chanukah favorites and Thanksgiving ballads in preparation for regaling their guests and for their own amusement.

Written by Rabbi Judith Beiner, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

15July

A Caregiver's Experience

A Caregiver's Experience

Thank you to our friends at Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta for featuring such a moving story about being a family caregiver in their weekly email:

The last thing I expected when my family made the move to Atlanta from Miami was that in a few short years, I would become a caregiver. Moreover, I would have never guessed that I would be a caregiver for my husband, who at the time of our move, was a strong and vivacious person.

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here

27June

Volunteers of the Month: Debbie Derby & Ted Taylor

Volunteers of the Month: Debbie Derby & Ted Taylor

When people come to JF&CS seeking volunteer opportunities, they often have in mind a specific cause or interest in which they want to focus their volunteerism. Sometimes it is a program or division of JF&CS and sometimes not. For some it is supporting and “growing” the agency as a whole. Debbie Derby and Ted Taylor both have found that their professions have provided them with the expertise they feel enables them to best help “build” JF&CS—literally.

Written by Anna Wishneff, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Volunteer Services

31May

Volunteers of the Month: Beth Arogeti & Ellen Chalef

Volunteers of the Month: Beth Arogeti & Ellen Chalef

Each year JF&CS conducts the Annual Campaign, which raises unrestricted funds to help those in need right here in our own community. Donors who generously contribute to the campaign are a very large reason the work JF&CS does is a reality. This year, it is truly an honor to have the campaign chaired by two very active supporters: Beth Arogeti and Ellen Chalef. Both of these remarkable women have already dedicated countless hours to the organization, and for this we are exceedingly proud to highlight them as our volunteers of the month.

Written by Anna Wishneff, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Volunteer Services

30May

The Importance of Companionship for Older Adults

The Importance of Companionship for Older Adults

Statistics show 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 daily for the next 16 years. That’s the age that traditionally has marked someone as an “older adult.” When you hear that term, what comes to mind? Granted, people age differently than they used to. Still, the term often evokes images of elderly people needing care, medications, doctors, nursing homes, hospice and so forth. While those are the things and the people that keep their bodies healthy, there is something that can keep their minds healthy: companionship.

Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Aviv Older Adult Services

30April

Volunteer of the Month: M. Queen Bailey-Brooks, LCSW

Volunteer of the Month: M. Queen Bailey-Brooks, LCSW

M. Queen Bailey-Brooks, LCSW, describes herself as a “born social worker.” Originally from Baltimore, she has been living and volunteering in Atlanta since 1995. To Queen, volunteering is not just something she enjoys doing on the side, it is her way of living. And while she has lent a hand to numerous organizations that serve various causes, older adults, or as Queen likes to say “my elders,” are her passion.

Written by Anna Wishneff, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Volunteer Services

25March

Volunteer of the Month: Jackie Naggar

Volunteer of the Month: Jackie Naggar

When it comes to being an all-around kindhearted and dedicated volunteer, Jackie Naggar is truly one of a kind. Originally from Birmingham, Ala., Jackie has been living and giving back in Atlanta for more than 10 years. Professionally, she is an attorney/legal recruiter. While she enjoys spending some of her free time with family and friends, traveling, and hosting her own networking events, volunteering is her absolute passion and joy.

Written by Anna Wishneff, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Volunteer Services

21March

The Importance of Sober Support

The Importance of Sober Support

“Well we all need someone we can lean on.” That sentiment as sung by the Rolling Stones is universal no matter the life circumstance. In recovery, it is doubly true as those who have worked so hard to become sober now have to relearn (or sometimes learn for the first time) how to survive everyday life without the artificial coping mechanism of their drug or behavior of choice.

Written by Jo Abney, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Counseling Services

05March

Simple Ways You can Help Fight Hunger

Simple Ways You can Help Fight Hunger

It’s March, and Passover is coming up at the end of the month. When we think of this wonderful holiday, what usually comes to mind? FOOD! So it’s apropos to highlight some volunteer opportunities related to hunger.

On March 10, the Atlanta Community Food Bank holds its annual Hunger Walk at Turner Field. As we do every year, JF&CS and many of our partnering synagogues will be forming teams to walk en masse with the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. Federation was one of the founding partners and a leading fundraiser for the walk. For the past five years, those walking with Federation made up the largest faith-based fundraising group at the event.

Written by Sheri Panovka, Posted in JF&CS - Hope and Opportunity Happen Here, Volunteer Services

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